October 18, 2018, 3:00 am
San Agustín is definitely one of the nicest small towns in Colombia: it boasts a wealth of excellent hostels and fancy hotels, gorgeous surrounding Andean countryside, some of the best coffee in Colombia and, above all, arguably the most important archaeological sites in the country. If you are interested in history and culture, and you love nature and a nice, laid-back atmosphere, then San Agustín, Colombia is definitely the place for you. Here are 5 amazing activities to experience when you visit:
Visit the Archaeological Park
The San Agustín Archaeological Park is without doubt the number one reason to take a trip to San Agustín – the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most important archaeological sites in South America and is home to the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures on the continent. It’s just outside of the town, and you could easily spend a day there, exploring the various burial plots, the forest of statues and the interesting museum.
Go horseback riding to La Chaquira
Horseback riding has become one of the most popular tourist activities in San Agustín, partly because of the beautiful countryside surrounding the town – perfect for exploring on horseback – and partly because there are some stunning pre-Columbian statues further afield that can only be reached easily by horse. Sites like El Tablon, La Pelota, and El Purutal contain some of the most detailed and interesting statues, while La Chaquira is one of the most mysterious pre-Columbian sites in Colombia: a large face carved onto a boulder, overlooking a breathtaking viewpoint over the Magdalena River.
See the Magdalena Strait
The aforementioned Magdalena River – Colombia’s largest and most important waterway – is born just to the south of San Agustín, in the isolated Paramo de Las Papas. It passes close to the town, and at one point, is squeezed into a narrow strait, barely 2 meters wide (the narrowest point of the river’s course). This impressive little canyon is a popular place to visit from San Agustín, and for good reason – there’s nowhere in Colombia where you can see the Magdalena in all of its wild glory from such a lovely vantage point. Adventurous visitors could even undertake the gruelling 4-day trek into the Paramo to visit the mystical source of the mighty river.
Visit the Isnos Statues
Okay, so visiting San Agustín is all about the statues, right?! Well...yes, basically! San Agustín is a lovely little town, bursting with pretty hostels and restaurants, but the real attraction here are the exceptionally well-preserved relics from the past. The nearby village of Isnos boasts some more archaeological sites: the Alto de las Piedras and Alto de los Idolos. The former features statues which still contain vestiges of the colourful patterns once painted on them, while the latter is probably the second most important archaeological site in the region, and is the home of the largest statue in the San Agustín area, a monstrous 7 meters high!
See the tallest waterfall in Colombia
Salto de Bordones, which you can visit from San Agustín as part of a day trip which also includes the Isnos sites and the Magdalena Strait, is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colombia at around 400 meters. It can be seen from across a deep valley and, although you can’t get too close to the ‘falls themselves, the sight of Bordones is an impressive one, as it drops dramatically from a tree-lined ridge into the forests below.
Explore this fascinating area of Colombia during a 3-day San Agustín tour. An English-speaking guide will explain the interesting culture and history you’re bound to come across during this trip in Colombia.
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